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Lashkar money trail led to Dawood

india Updated: Dec 13, 2008 00:30 IST
Presley Thomas
Presley Thomas
Hindustan Times
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Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, the 65-year-old Saudi Arabia-based chief financier of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT), was in touch with underworld gangster and designated global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.

Bahaziq, also known as Abu Abd al-Aziz, approached Dawood in the late ’90s to fund the LeT. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau said Dawood acceded to Bahaziq’s demands and also promised him foot soldiers for the LeT in India.

The Indian-born Saudi national has been key to the LeT’s establishment and activities, and was a popular visitor to the Jamaat-ud-Dawah’s — the parent body of the LeT — centre in Muridke in Pakistan.

In certain cases, Bahaziq used video-conferencing to stay in touch with Dawood and top Saudi-based businessmen to raise funds for the LeT. Sources added that Bahaziq created fictitious charitable trusts after the US listed the Al Rasheed Trust as a terror front aiding the Al Qaeda. Aid Organisation of the Ulema, Pakistan, Al Amin Welfare Trust Al-Madina Trust are among the few front organisation Bahaziq created.

Though there is no birth certificate available, police sources said, Bahaziq was born in Hyderabad and later went on to procure Saudi nationality. How he got Saudi nationality is still a mystery to police officials, who are trying to ascertain the person who stood by Bahaziq.

A key functionary for the LeT since the 1980s, Bahaziq’s name first surfaced when police officials launched a hunt for Mohammed Azam Ghauri — the LeT’s India operations commander, who was gunned down in April 2000 in Andhra Pradesh — and his partner Abdul Karim Tunda.

Sources said Bahaziq had visited India in 1999 as a Saudi national and stayed at a plush hotel in south Mumbai. This is where Bahaziq met Ghauri and later helped him get to a safe haven in Saudi Arabia, said police sources.

Bahaziq, police sources said, is believed to have met members of the proscribed Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Tanzim Islahul Muslimeen (TIM). He also met Mohammed Ishtiaq alias Saleem Junaid — a Pakistani LeT operative who was later arrested in Hyderabad — in Mumbai and helped him with finances.

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